Nearly 100 years ago, the “War to End All Wars” began. A soldier-poet who was to die in action during that war — a week before it ended — wrote the poem below.
On Memorial Day, ThinkAdvisor continues our now three-year-old tradition of honoring advisors and their partners who served in the armed forces of the United States through slideshows presenting their names, images and what they remember about their service.
While those in the pages to follow were not required to give, in Lincoln’s words, the “last full measure of devotion,” they did give their time, their youth, their minds and bodies and their talents to benefit all of us, and we remember their sacrifice in this modest way.
Anthem for Doomed Youth
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
— Only the monstrous anger of the guns
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
Name: Jon Melges
Title/Company: Branch Manager, Managing Director, Raymond James & Associates
Branch: U.S. Army
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Beginning: Private; End: Sargeant E5
Service Dates: 1990-1994
Work you did: Infantry
Brief story that stands out from your service time: While walking through Kuwait, a young 12 year old boy, walked up to me and my friend and said: “Hey GI let me buy you lunch.” Thinking that this is a war torn country we responded: “Let us buy you lunch.” He then pulled out a lot of cash and said that his family owned an oil well and that he really wanted to buy us lunch for what we have done. So we agreed and sat down with him and listened to his story. His father was taken away, tortured and finally returned after we liberated Kuwait. His mother and sisters were repeatedly raped and then shot in front of him. At 12 years old he became the head of the family. I will never forget that day and the profound effect that the little boy has had on me.
Name: Fred Miller
Title/Company: VP, Senior Advisor Consultant, Franklin Templeton Investments
Branch: U.S. Marine Corps.
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: E1 – E-3
Service Dates: 1988 – 1992
Work you did: Legal
Brief story that stands out from your service time: Chief Warrant Officer Dexter Hodgeman was a former drill instructor that I worked for at 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. CWO Hodgeman was hardcore in every way possible. Short story was that a bunch of us thought CWO Hodgeman had left early for the day to go golf, so we all lit up cigarettes and were smoking in the building (was ok back then, but NOT when CWO Hodgeman was on deck – personal preference – rank has its privileges.) Needless to say, he forgot something, so about 30 minutes after he left, he popped back into the building and busted us smoking. He flipped out! We all got punished hard. Afterwards, he assembled us and quickly and succinctly explained to us our valuable lesson on “integrity.” He taught us that integrity is ALWAYS doing the right thing, even when nobody is around or looking, even when alone and if you don’t think anyone will ever know. ALWAYS do the right thing. Period. This is a lesson that has benefited me my entire life. I only wish EVERYONE, including my own son could do the same. It is a difficult lesson to learn. That day will stand out in my mind forever vividly. Maybe it didn’t impact the others in my group the same way. I took the lesson to heart.
Name: Jon S. Ladd
Title/Company: Raymond James
Branch: U.S. Army
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: Commissioned a Lieutenant, retired Lieutenant Colonel
Service Dates: 1978 – 2006
Work you did: Originally Military Intelligence Officer in Korea, Then US Army Rangers (black Ops), followed by 3 tours as a Helicopter Pilot in Germany then one tour as a fixed-wing pilot flying the German/Czech border
Brief story that stands out from your service time: I was a pilot/liaison/intelligence officer working out of Wiesbaden, Germany, when we received a request from “the company” to fly a special track near the Czech border at a specific time. We advised their representatives to allow us to let the German ATC tell us the best track routes for the mission. The reps from “the company” insisted on telling them what we would fly. The German ATC responded “It won’t be a very secret mission if I have to re-route 50 Jetliners to clear your airspace!” Point well taken.
Name: Wes Adwell (No photo provided)
Title/Company: Investment Advisor Representatives, Lincoln Investment Planning
Branch: U.S. Navy
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: E1 – E5. FTG2
Service Dates: 1981 – 1985
Work you did: Fire Control Technician
Brief story that stands out from your service time: I was fortunate enough to have served during Ronald Reagan’s term and his buildup of a 600-ship Navy. The Navy was changing and there was a lot of pride in the military and in our country. Many great memories of friends and countries I visited. A memorable time was when were headed to San Francisco for Fleet Week in 1984. Very impressive site of all the ships one day in every direction, horizon to horizon. San Francisco and it’s residents treated us great. The only time I remember ever wanting to wear my uniform off duty. Proud to have served!
Name: Jason Lahita (pictured second from right)
Title/Company: Founding Partner, FiComm Partners
Branch: U.S. Navy
Rank held at beginning of service and at end: E1 – E4